BEIJING, China - Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina resisted a second set surge and claimed their first WTA doubles title together on Saturday night, and it was a big one - the Premier Mandatory-level China Open in Beijing.
After an even start to the match, the No.3-seeded Makarova and Vesnina ran off seven straight games from 4-5 in the first set to build a 75 40 lead; No.5 seeds Nuria Llagostera Vives and Sania Mirza rebounded well, winning the next four games - losing just three points in those games combined - to even the set, 4-all, but Makarova and Vesnina re-rebounded and closed it out, 75 75.
"Doubles can be up and down, and with no-ad scoring and the deciding point it's tough to win every game," Makarova said afterwards. "When they came back from 4-0 it was a tough moment for us, but we came back and won it in the end, and we're just really happy we won the match and the tournament."
"This was such a strong tournament we weren't planning on winning the whole thing, we were just thinking match by match," Vesnina said. "We had both been to the doubles final here before so we really wanted to win it this time."
The Russians only just started playing together in May, making a splash in their first two events together, reaching finals at Rome and Madrid (losing both to Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci); now in Beijing, their first title together.
"This is a really big tournament for us," said Vesnina, the No.10-ranked doubles player in the world. "The facilities and courts are great and the people are very welcoming here. I think they have a great future here at the China Open."
Errani and Vinci were the No.1 seeds in Beijing but had to withdraw just before their opener after Errani suffered a thigh injury in her first singles match.
Two other top teams - Nadia Petrova and Maria Kirilenko, and Raquel Kops-Jones and Abigail Spears - were battling it out for the fourth and final spot in the doubles event at the TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships - Istanbul 2012, though with the Americans falling in the quarterfinals and the Russians in the semifinals the race to reach the WTA finale will continue on in the coming weeks. It should be noted Makarova and Vesnina beat both of those teams.
Elsewhere, two-time Grand Slam doubles champion Yan Zi played her second doubles event back after becoming a mother, though she and partner Zheng Saisai ended up falling in the first round to Tang Hao Chen and Tian Ran.